1255.) Nahum 3

Nineveh was the last capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was located on the east side of the Tigris River directly opposite the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The site has been extensively excavated and boasts a long and rich history.

Nineveh was the last capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was located on the east side of the Tigris River directly opposite the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The site has been extensively excavated and boasts a long and rich history.

Nahum 3   (NIV)

Woe to Nineveh

Woe to the city of blood,
    full of lies,
full of plunder,
    never without victims!
The crack of whips,
    the clatter of wheels,
galloping horses
    and jolting chariots!
Charging cavalry,
    flashing swords
    and glittering spears!
Many casualties,
    piles of dead,
bodies without number,
    people stumbling over the corpses—

The Assyrian king Shalmaneser III boasted of having erected a pyramid of chopped-off heads in front of an enemy’s city.  Other Assyrian kings stacked corpses like cordwood by the gates of defeated cities.   (The Archaeological Study Bible)

all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute,
    alluring, the mistress of sorceries,
who enslaved nations by her prostitution
    and peoples by her witchcraft.

“I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty.
    “I will lift your skirts over your face.
I will show the nations your nakedness
    and the kingdoms your shame.
I will pelt you with filth,
    I will treat you with contempt
    and make you a spectacle.
All who see you will flee from you and say,
    ‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’
    Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”

Are you better than Thebes,
    situated on the Nile,
    with water around her?
The river was her defense,
    the waters her wall.

In the ancient city of Thebes, the sprawling Temple of Karnak covers more than 200 acres

In the ancient city of Thebes, the sprawling Temple of Karnak covers more than 200 acres.

Thebes (Upper Egypt) was another wealthy, mighty city that was destroyed completely. The Assyrians in Nineveh knew this well, because it was their armies that destroyed Thebes in 663 B.C. Nahum says, “Remember what you did to Thebes? The same is coming on you.”

–David Guzik

Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength;
    Put and Libya were among her allies.
10 Yet she was taken captive
    and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces
    at every street corner.
Lots were cast for her nobles,
    and all her great men were put in chains.
11 You too will become drunk;
    you will go into hiding
    and seek refuge from the enemy.

12 All your fortresses are like fig trees
    with their first ripe fruit;
when they are shaken,
    the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.

Nah3 ripe fig
13 Look at your troops—
    they are all weaklings.
The gates of your land
    are wide open to your enemies;
    fire has consumed the bars of your gates.

History and archaeology confirm that Nineveh was burned.  Assyria’s king (see verse 18) died in the flames of his own palace.   (The Archaeology Study Bible)

14 Draw water for the siege,
    strengthen your defenses!
Work the clay,
    tread the mortar,
    repair the brickwork!
15 There the fire will consume you;
    the sword will cut you down—
    they will devour you like a swarm of locusts.
Multiply like grasshoppers,
    multiply like locusts!
16 You have increased the number of your merchants
    till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
    and then fly away.
17 Your guards are like locusts,
    your officials like swarms of locusts
    that settle in the walls on a cold day—
but when the sun appears they fly away,
    and no one knows where.

18 King of Assyria, your shepherds slumber;
    your nobles lie down to rest.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
    with no one to gather them.
19 Nothing can heal you;
    your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands at your fall,
for who has not felt
    your endless cruelty?

Bass Relief of Royal Lion Hunt from Nineveh Palace

Bas-Relief of a Royal Lion Hunt from Nineveh Palace

Ninevah’s destruction in 612 B.C. was so complete that the decimated city was never rebuilt.  In the days of the Greek historian Herodotus, 400 B.C., Nineveh had become a thing of the past.  It was covered with windblown sand, leaving no trace except a mound that was known as Tell Kuyunjik, “the mound of many sheep.”  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

For centuries no one knew where ancient Nineveh lay buried.  Its remains were finally uncovered by archaeologists in 1845.  Excavations began on the site and over the next century and a half, wonderful things have been uncovered:  a vast arrangement of royal palaces, hundreds of sculptures and bas-reliefs, thousands of cuneiform tablets.  But the recent war in Iraq has not been kind to Nineveh.  In an October 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, the Global Heritage Fund named Nineveh one of 12 sites most “on the verge” of irreparable destruction and loss, citing insufficient management, development pressures, and looting as primary causes.



HERE  is “The King Shall Come,” a hymn which is often sung in Advent.  But as I thought about the end of Nineveh, I started also thinking about the end of the world as we know it.  When Christ returns, we as believers will not face the enemy with accompanying destruction, as the Ninevites did.  Instead, we will see his face — light, glory, love divine.  No fear.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child
To bear, and fight, and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

O brighter than the rising morn
When He, victorious, rose,
And left the lonesome place of death,
Despite the rage of foes.

O brighter than that glorious morn
Shall this fair morning be,
When Christ, our King, in beauty comes,
And we His face shall see.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And earth’s dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
The day that aye shall last.

And let the endless bliss begin,
By weary saints foretold,
When right shall triumph over wrong,
And truth shall be extolled.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings.


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Nineveh.    http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/nineveh.jpg
Karnak Temple of ancient Thebes.    http://www.destination360.com/africa/egypt/karnak-temple
ripe fig.    http://foodblogandthedog.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/sm-fig.jpg
bas relief.    http://s1.hubimg.com/u/4960730_f520.jpg

2 Responses to 1255.) Nahum 3

  1. We are now studying the exile of the Northern Kingdom in homeschool. I can’t wait to show my children your post! Thanks!

    • Rebecca says:

      My best wishes to you, home school mom! No better way for kids to learn history than to learn it as the unfolding of God’s story as it leads to two main events: Jesus’ coming as a baby, and Jesus’ second coming as a king! Blessings to you and your family!

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